By |

WASHINGTONThe Pentagon yesterday charged a Guantanamo detainee with capital murder and terrorism for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Tanzania and his suspected ties to Al Qaeda.

  • The Defense Department’s chief military commissions prosecutor filed nine charges against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and is seeking the death penalty if the Tanzanian is convicted of playing a central role in planning and preparing the truck bomb attack that killed 11 people and injured dozens more. A nearly simultaneous bombing of the American embassy in neighboring Nairobi, Kenya, also blamed on Al Qaeda, killed 213 others August 7, 1998.

The Pentagon’s action yesterday drew sharp criticism from civil-rights advocates and some federal law enforcement officials who questioned why the government was seeking to try Ghailani before a war-crimes tribunal when he was indicted for the embassy bombings along with 10 others nearly a decade ago by a federal grand jury in New York. Four of those men were tried and convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. The others, including Ghailani, had not been captured at the time.